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review 2018-07-16 22:30
HYSTERIA by Stephanie M. Wytovich, narrated by Teagan Gardner
Hysteria: A Collection of Madness - Stephanie M. Wytovich,Steven Archer,Michael A. Arnzen,Teagan Gardner

The entire time I was listening to this poetry collection, THE YELLOW WALLPAPER by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was in the back of my mind. HYSTERIA is about women and their likelihood of falling victim to men, to the world, to their children...and back again to the men. Unlike Gilman's story though, in HYSTERIA, the women often rise up and take what's due. I loved it!

 

I've admitted it before, but I will again here so we're clear, poetry is generally not my thing. But women are-especially strong women, women who have been through things in their life, women for whom life has not been easy. Most of this volume focuses on them, which is why, (I think), it speaks to me so intimately.

 

There are a lot of poems within and I can't get into all of them here, but I especially loved GREED, PLAYMATE OF THE NIGHT and GUARDIAN ANGEL:

 

"...lock me up somewhere else/you say the wrong thing around here, people start to think you're crazy, like madness is some contagion you breathe in through the air/I just told them that sweet Jezebel didn't like it when the men talk to her like that/when they visited her in her cell and touched her pretty face/ran their fingers through her silky hair/they beat me to get out my crazy..."

 

I found Stephanie Wytovich's prose to be killer: in bringing to mind vivid renderings of women-abused, crazy, strong, wild, beautiful, ugly, willful, sexy and with TEETH. Don't turn your back on these women, especially if you've done them wrong in the past. At the same time, some of these ladies are kind and nurturing, or at least they were... before they were diagnosed with HYSTERIA.

 

Highly recommended for fans of poetry and dark fiction!

 

*Thank you to Stephanie M. Wytovich for the free Audible copy of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2018-07-04 15:10
BROKEN ON THE INSIDE by Phil Sloman
Broken on the Inside - Phil Sloman

 

BROKEN ON THE INSIDE is not only the title, but also the theme of this book. Containing 5 short tales, each featuring a person in distress, I couldn't help but feel for them all.

 

 

BROKEN ON THE INSIDE- the title story, starred a woman who's had enough of her mother. So much so that it's making her physically sick. When a doctor tells her he can cure her with nanotechnology she jumps on the chance. But just like her mother said, it wasn't all that easy. (Why are mothers always right? It's enough to drive one crazy.)

 

 

DISCOMFORT FOOD This tale is about another young woman, this one working at a fast food burger joint. One night her manager goes a little too far in his harassment of her and she is forced to react. Never again will dinner time be the same.

 

THE MAN WHO FED THE FOXES is a sad narrative about a lonely man who has let his beautiful garden go to pot. When a group of foxes take up living in his abandoned paradise, he begins to feed them a special diet, and they bring him unusual gifts in return.

 

THERE WAS AN OLD MAN In this tale John Hinklow is a gentlemen rather obsessed with having swallowed a fly. Rightfully so, it turns out.

 

VIRTUALLY FAMOUS was a weird little story about a man named Chet who became addicted to a game-The Game. In it, players can opt to be Chet, (the star), , or to be other people in the story-line. But what happens when the main player begins playing himself? In the end it becomes difficult to determine who was the real Chet and which was the Chet in the game. Whether it be gaming or drugs, addictions are dangerous.

 

These stories were all heavy hitters and combined, make up this powerful narrative as a whole. I enjoyed it as entertaining storytelling on one level, but it also caused me to think deeply about life as we know it and how we go about living that life. Every single person in this book had problems-addictions and obsessions. They were broken on the inside. This led me to thinking about the people I know and even myself. Aren't we all BROKEN ON THE INSIDE in one way or another?

 

Highly recommended for fans of extremely well written dark fiction!

 

Get your copy here: BROKEN ON THE INSIDE

 

*I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2018-05-11 17:42
KILL CREEK by Scott Thomas, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark
Kill Creek - Scott Thomas,Bernard Setaro Clark

Simply said, KILL CREEK was AWESOME! I've long been suspecting that a really good haunted house book was a thing of the past. I'm happy as hell to be proven wrong on that.

 

At first, I'm not going to lie, the standard trope of four people staying overnight in the oh-so scary house, did not impress me. But between the characters themselves, the background of the house, and how everyone came together, slowly this story began to win me over. In this case, we actually had 6 people staying overnight, on Halloween, to boot. Four famous horror authors, Wainwright, the man who orchestrated this affair, (being the founder of a website dedicated to all things horror), and his girlfriend Kate who is there to photograph any happenings. Then, (and get this surprising twist), not all that much happens and everyone goes home! So where's the scary stuff? What occurs that makes so many people rave about this book? Don't look at me, I'm not going to spoil it. You'll have to read it for yourself.

 

These characters burrowed down deep into my psyche, and I felt like I knew them all intimately. Every single one of them changed throughout, and be they good changes or bad, they were all different people by the denouement. I love that. I love unpredictability in both my books and my characters-who wants to read about boring flat Stanley?

 

The writing had a vivid feel to it and the author is terrific in his descriptive passages as well as with his dialogue. It all rang very true to me. I have to admit that I am impressed-even more so when I take into account that this is a debut novel. For many years, my favorite book was GHOST STORY by Peter Straub, and in my mind, I can't help but compare the two and KILL CREEK holds up to that comparison. That's the highest praise I can give.

 

Lastly, the narrator: Bernard Setaro Clark? You rock, man! You nailed it! What else is there to say?

 

I'm sure this audio will be in my top ten at the end of the year and as such it gets my highest recommendation. You should read it. Right now! Why are you still here? 

You can get your copy here: KILL CREEK

 

*I bought this e-book and the audio with my hard-earned cash and this opinion is my own.*

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review 2018-04-13 18:30
WINTERBAY ABBEY by John Bladek and Javonna Duroe, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Winterbay Abbey: A Ghost Story - John Bladek,Davonna Juroe,Matt Godfrey

 

WINTERBAY ABBEY is a beautifully written Gothic style ghost story and I adored it, from start to finish!

 

When I saw this being compared to Susan Hill's THE WOMAN IN BLACK, I was a bit hesitant because, to be honest, I did not like that tale AT ALL. It was repetitious and I felt it lacked the Gothic, quiet horror atmosphere that I love so much. I needn't have worried because this book was much better than that one and it had the added advantage of Matt Godfrey's narration.

 

This is the story of a man and his wife, Will & Emily, getting over a recent accident where the wife nearly lost her hand. They've also just discovered that Emily is pregnant. Her damaged hand has affected her ability to contribute to the family's financial resources and times are tight. When Will's boss offers makes him take a job in Maine drawing up architecture plans to turn an abandoned abbey into a resort hotel, he jumps on the chance to secure his family's financial future. At the last minute, he decided to invite Emily to meet him there. Will their plans work out? Will they succeed in having a happy and healthy family? You'll have to read this to find out!

 

I do love me a quiet horror story. What does that mean? For me, it means atmospheric, inspiring feelings of dread and fear, without spilling a lot of blood and guts. This must be difficult to write, because, to be honest, I haven't read that many good, quiet horror stories. This one is better than good, it's fantastic! There were a few instances where I thought Will made a bad decision or two, but overall, I also felt that it was realistic in the telling, and I was rooting for our couple to make it through.

 

With the always rich narration of Matt Godfrey, I felt this couple come to life. I hope that you give it a chance and let Will and Emily come alive for you.

 

Highly recommended!

 

Get your copy here: WINTERBAY ABBEY

 

*Thanks to narrator and friend, Matt Godfrey, for the audio copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!* 

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review 2018-03-05 18:45
I'll Bring You the Birds From Out of the Sky by Brian Hodge
I'll Bring You the Birds from Out of the Sky - Brian Hodge

Brian Hodge is an outstanding writer and as such, how could I'LL BRING YOU THE BIRDS FROM OUT OF THE SKY be anything less than outstanding? In fact, if there was a word-I would rate this book higher than outstanding. How about exceptional? Yeah, let's go with EXCEPTIONAL.

 

In this novella length tale, we meet Mr. Timothy Randolph, an art dealer and curator of folk art. When Nona brings him a sample painting of her grandfather's, Timothy is intrigued and immediately sets off with her to see more of her grandpa's work. In the Appalachian mountains, they find a LOT more than they bargained for, and they will both be changed forever.

 

I didn't expect this tale to go where it did. Even in this short length of a story, Brian Hodge delivers the creeps on a magnificent scale. Not going to lie: I totally shuddered at the description of one character's

eye.

(spoiler show)

 I even had to put the book down for a minute. Not for long though, because I had to see what happened next. (Even now, just thinking about it, I have goosebumps.)

 

That's it! That's all I'm going to say. If you've read Brian Hodge before, you already know what I'm talking about. If you haven't read Brian Hodge before, start here. At only $2.99 for the Kindle version, take a chance and you'll get to see what I'm talking about for yourself.

 

Simply, my HIGHEST recommendation!

 

*A HUGE thanks goes out to my friend Andi, who gifted me a beautiful signed copy which I'll treasure forever.* 

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